I know we mentioned we aren’t going to be cross-promoting the new website, and we won’t be. However, I figured the readers of this blog probably wanted a bit more detailed explanation than what they saw in the newsletter about why and how Fortress Geek came about.
Why Not Grow Starlit Citadel?
I’m sure that’s a thought in some people’s heads. The time and energy we devote to the new site could potentially be pointed at Starlit Citadel after all. Except… not really. Over the years, we’ve tried a lot of different advertising methods and a lot of different venues. The ROI on most of those venues / advertising methods have not been great, and we’ve slowly trimmed them out. Sure, we could potentially do more Video Reviews – but they are such a high-level marketing tool that their returns are often months, if not years ahead. Other marketing tactics that have been contemplated all require years of long-term investment to see a return (working with schools & teachers, setting up demo programs in communities, etc) and are a lot of work to even get started.
Furthermore, Starlit Citadel is growing. It’s just that the rate of growth has slowed down (you can’t grow at 100% forever after all – compound effects come in after a while. Not to say we did 100% btw). That’s not surprising – at a certain point, we will reach saturation in the gaming business and growth rates will be eked out at the margins (3 – 5%). That’s fine, but not very exciting. At a guess, we’re probably 3 – 4 years out before we see that, but I have to start planning for that now.
A New Business
One of the lessons I learnt while owning my own business is to make sure you are actually interested in the business you are promoting. There’s a certain level that professionalism and drive will get you, but to make a business really successful, you need to be passionate about it.
When I first started looking for a new business idea, I wanted a business that I could actually get behind and push. One that I had no problem seeing myself promoting for the next 3 / 4 years before it became profitable. At the same time, I started noticing the various cool stuff we brought into Starlit Citadel never sold – necklaces, chainmail dice bags, the posters, etc. I figured it was because it was close, but no cigar for our current crop of customers.
Being a dyed-in-the-wool geek, I figure why not expand into more Geek related businesses? After all, there seemed to be a gap in the Canadian marketplace and we already had the logistics infrastructure in-place. Thus… Fortress Geek. We first started building the site in September 2012 but had to put everything on-hold when Christmas came. In addition, we needed more space – both for Starlit and for the new stock in FG.
So, what makes FG different? I have a few ideas and we are working hard on making some of them come through. Right now, the site is pretty similar to every other geek site out there – there’s nothing special to it. No USP. It’s one of my major concerns, and one we believe we know how to tackle. However, to get there it’s going to take a few more months and require us learning a few new skills. Hopefully, some of those skills will show up in Starlit too, but we shall see.